Texas ChE and Eugene Dakin:
I just want to clarify some points in this discussion:
(1) Ethanol (or any other oxygenate) is not
blended into "straight run gasoline" to make product sales gasoline. In fact, sales gasoline contains very little, if any, "straight run gasoline". Sales gasoline is a complex blend of butane, reformate gasoline, alkylate gasoline, hydrotreated treated cracked gasoline, hydrocracked gasoline, and various other gasoline components produced in petroleum refineries.
(2) MTBE is being displaced from sales gasoline blends because it has leaked into underground aquifers where it imparts a very unpleasant taste to the aquifer water even at concentrations in the parts per billion range and lower. However, to the best of my knowledge, there have been no definitive or conclusive toxicological or epidemiological studies indicating that MTBE is "toxic".
(3) Ethanol has been used for many years in Brazil as automotive fuel. Brazil produces and uses about 14,000,000,000 liters per year of ethanol for such use. In fact, the ethanol usage now accounts for about 40% of Brazil's total automotive fuel usage.
(4) In 2001, the USA consumed about 10,000,000,000 gallons of gasoline (called "gasohol") containing 10% ethanol and about 7,000,000,000 gallons of gasohol containing 5-7% ethanol ... which is only a very small part of our annual gasoline consumption.
(5) In neither Brazil nor the USA am I aware of any major problems caused by moisture in gasohol storage tanks or that it requires costs of $1.00 per gallon to dispose of any water drained from storage tanks. I would be interested to learn where that statement was obtained.
(6) A fuel known as E85, which is a blend of 85% ethanol and 15% gasoline, is available on a small scale in some of the USA's Midwestern states. However, using E85 requires special automobiles designed to handle such fuels and very few of such special automobiles are currently produced.
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